Italy Government Will Survive Beyond EU Elections, Conte Says

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s government will survive beyond the European elections next month, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said, following speculation in the past week that clashes within the ruling coalition could prompt early national elections.

The government will “not just survive,” through the European vote, but will
"thrive," Conte said in an interview with Corriere della Sera. “But if the government should languish, everyone would have to draw their own conclusions, starting with me”

Parties within Italy’s coalition clashed this week after Rome prosecutors opened a corruption investigation into Armando Siri, a senior economic adviser to Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini from the League party. Salvini has had disputes with Luigi Di Maio from the Five Star party, also a deputy prime minister, over issues including migration, security and an Alpine rail project since the coalition come to power last year.

In a separate interview with La Repubblica, Di Maio said the current government isn’t at risk of collapse. “On the contrary, for me it goes ahead because when we act as a team, we work well,” he told the daily.

Asked if Salvini’s League could claim the leadership of the Italian government if it wins in EU elections next month, Di Maio said, “it’s unthinkable that the League could do that.”

Conte was also asked about the possibility that Salvini would replace him as prime minister. “Salvini is a young guy and he has his whole life ahead of him to become Italian prime minister, but not under this government,” Conte said.

The prime minister also said there are some signs of a recovery in the Italian economy. The government will approve its so-called "growth decree" with a set of measures to boost the economy on April 23. Italy will also take all necessary precautions to avoid an increase to value added tax, Conte said.

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